14 Mexican Beers You'll Wish You Knew About Sooner

Mexico is known for making crisp beers ideal for sipping on a hot day. Some of the most popular Mexican cervezas are practically begging for a cold glass and wedge of lime (even though limes in Mexican lagers might all just be a marketing ploy). Mexico's brewing history started as a result of German and Austrian immigrants arriving during the rule of the country's Austrian emperor Maximiliano I, according to Craft Beer & Brewing. The German and Austrian brewing traditions have left a major imprint on the country.

The craft beer industry in Mexico is still limited, so many of the Mexican beers found in the U.S. are mass produced, as well as delightfully easy to drink and relatively affordable. Today, two major companies dominate sales in the country and around the world: Heineken Mexico and Grupo Modelo. The beer choices are diverse, despite the massive consolidation in the industry. The Motley Fool reports that Mexican beers are gaining in popularity in the U.S., threatening to unseat domestic favorites like Bud Light and Coors Light. Many of these options are ideal as the base for a Michelada, a Mexican beer cocktail that rivals a Bloody Mary. But we agree with writer Tiney Ricciardi at the Dallas News: a Michelada so much more than simply replacing a light beer for vodka. And fortunately, these Mexican beers are good enough to drink on their own.

Cerveza Pacifico

Cerveza Pacifico is one of the best known Mexican beers. Pacifico, a pilsner-style lager, originated in Mazatlán along the Baja coast. The brewery is said to have been started by three German brothers in 1900, and was popularized in the U.S. in the 1970s by surfers returning to California from Mexico. If you've been to the beach in Mexico, chances are you've sipped one of these. In the U.S., this Mexican lager has become a staple. The New York Times found Pacifico is sold in all 50 states and on tap in 37 states. If you haven't tried it yet, preferably with a lime wedge, then you've likely seen their social media ads. 

Chicago Tribune found that Pacifico has inspired multiple craft breweries to create Mexican-style lagers. This lager is crisp, refreshing, and the perfect introduction to the style. The head brewer at Unita brewing in Salt Lake City told the Tribune that Pacifico is a favorite in part because Mexican lagers "boast slightly fruity esters from the yeast" compared to the "boring yeasts" that domestic brands use. A little harsh, but a win for our neighbors to the south.

Negra Modelo

This Mexican beer might be a personal favorite, but we're not alone. It also goes to show that not all Mexican beers are lagers. Liquor.com names Modelo as one of the country's most recognized brands, with Especial bringing in almost "$2 billion in sales" each year. Modelo Negra is the amber cousin of Modelo Especial, a pilsner-style lager brewed since 1925 and one of the most popular Mexican beers in the United States. The site names Modelo Especial's "richer, fuller mouthfeel" as what sets it apart from other domestic beers — although don't expect its "relatively demure palate and finish" profile to hold up against the flavor of a modern German-style pilsner. That said, the Almost Vegan Chef says Especial's light flavor pairs well with fresh fish ceviche called aquachile.

The darker Negra Modelo is Munich-style beer, described by the Beer Advocate as "delicate" with notes of caramel and "La Crema de la Cerveza," aka an elite beer. Don't let the amber color scare you off. If you haven't tried one, Negra Modelo still offers a smooth flavor and pairs well with lime.


One of the best beers from Mexico was inspired by a region in the Czech Republic. A pilsner-style beer, Bohemia is made with Styrian hops, which lend an earthy flavor with white pepper notes (via Hopslist). This isn't your average macro-brewery pilsner. The Spruce Eats described Bohemia's the flavor as "light and subtle with an excellent hoppy finish." Sure, the site admits the Mexican beer doesn't quite hold up to its website's "grandiose" claims that the tasting notes include vanilla, cocoa, and fruit. This is still a pale lager, after all. It does hold its own when compared to domestics when you want to pair a pilsner with dinner or relax with a drink at the end of the day. Want to stay with Mexican cuisine for your meal? Almost Vegan Chef recommends trying Bohemia with a shrimp molcajete because the citrus compliments the dish made with tomatillos and chile de arbol.

Tecate Original Lager

This lager has a long heritage with plenty of recent news coverage. Tecate is affordable, easy to drink, and perfect for bringing to a barbeque. Think of this lager's popularity as a compliment to the PBR renaissance in the U.S. (via HuffPo) — young people can't get enough of this Mexican beer. Tecate is named after the city of the same name in Baja, California, which VinePair says has been brewed since 1944. While hipsters might love the red cans and the Aztec eagle logo, the spirits-focused site also chose Tecate as its favorite Mexican lager in a blind taste test. The brand has long claimed to be the "beer of men," but according to VinePair the brand dipped its toe into modernity thanks to its vice president Esther Garcia. Despite the flawed legacy, Tecate still benefits from its heritage, even though its authenticity has been called into question.

Food & Wine reported on a lawsuit claiming that Tecate can't be considered a Mexican beer because it isn't all brewed in Mexico: At least some of the Tecate imported into the U.S. is marked as a "Product of Holland." Dutch brewing company Heineken acquired the Mexican beer in 2010, the site says, and they report that the brewery in Tecate is still active. Shortages in 2020 and 2021 affected almost all industries (let's face it, issues are ongoing), and beer production in Mexico wasn't any different. Only time — and litigation — will decide whether a beer can still be considered Mexican if it's made in Holland.


Victoria is another easy-drinking beer that is a staple in Mexico's offerings. Out of the lager selections, Victoria stands out for its brown bottle, yellow-and-white label, and red lettering. Beer stored in brown bottles isn't just an aesthetic choice. Beer is sensitive to UV rays, which can alter the beer to smell "skunked," says Business Insider – which, exactly as it sounds, is a smell (and taste) like that of a skunk. Darker-colored glass helps protect bottles on a shelf or when drinking out on a sunny day. Victoria is a Vienna-style lager that has a warm, amber color, smoother body, and a crisp finish. The brand also claims its one of the oldest beers made in Mexico, having been brewed for over 135 years. The flavor notes are still subtle, but the export is known for having a bit more body than popular brands such as Pacifico or Corona.

In the Chicago Tribune, Josh Noel said that Victoria complimented the "complexity" of tacos made with ahi tuna and lamb meatballs with rich sauces. Noel commented that the malt makes it interesting, but this is still a "bright, dry, and refreshing" beer. Don't expect a heavy beer, and do feel free to drink it straight out of the bottle.

Sol Cerveza

Mexico is fortunate to have three different coastlines and some of the world's most beautiful sand-covered beaches. Sol is made for warm days under the sun, which not coincidentally is what the word "sol" translates to in English. BeerAdvocate describes the lager as bright, refreshing, and "brewed to shine just like those who drink it." The Sol company says the lager was born in the "heart of Mexico" in 1899 after the country gained its independence. Legend says the original brew master experimented with a new recipe that took its name after a ray of sun lit up the first batch of beer. Talk about a sign.

Each bottle of Sol still wears a sun on its label, and the beer is now available in 70 countries. For Beer Lovers says the light lager was first brewed in Mexico City by the now-defunct brewery El Salto del Agua. According to the site, Sol's brand has also expanded beyond the original recipe into the first "flavored" beer in Mexico, Sol Limón y Sal — a crisp beer tasting of lime and salt (via Brew Republic).

Corona Extra

Chances are you've heard of this Mexican lager. While it might not be called the king of beers, Corona can certainly carry the crown. According to Beer & Brewing, Corona is Mexico's best-selling beer around the world, reaching more than 150 countries. Corona originated back in 1925, but the brewing site explains that when first introduced in the United States, it was considered a cheap beer. This reputation didn't stop Corona from finding instant success – Delish says the Mexican lager quickly became the top selling imported beer and the "fastest-growing beer in America's history." That's no small feat for a country that makes and imports a lot of beer. Corona is also said to have popularized having a lime wedge with a Mexican lager. 

There are many rumors why people drink Corona with a lime, including the less-than-flattering concept that limes can mask a "skunked" taste. Clear bottles like the ones Corona comes in don't protect the beer from light, which is a big problem for hops. Or, as Delish notes, many people believe the addition of lime originated as a marketing tactic. Regardless of the reason, Mexican lager and lime are an excellent pairing, and Corona simply helped spread the good word.


Not everyone is a fan of the lightness that is distinct in lager or even paler pilsner beers. We're here to say there is another option if you want a simple beer in the middle of the road. If you're in the mood for something darker, Indio is a solid choice thanks to its amber color, crisp finish, and balanced malt flavor. Todd Haefer wrote about the amber lager in USA Today, saying "herbal hops used in Indio are noticeable and a welcome change from the piney hops used in many American amber beers." Haefer praised the smooth mouthfeel that is "much better" than a Heineken, despite being owned by the parent company. BeerAdvocate also rates the amber higher than some of the others on this list, even though it doesn't seem to have garnered as much attention on the site compared to lighter Mexican lagers. It sure doesn't hurt that Indio is in a brown bottle to protect its precious cargo. It's worth keeping an eye out for its distinctive green and gold label.

La Lupulosa

Mexico's craft beer scene is still small compared to the multitude of small and artisan breweries in the United States. That doesn't mean micro-cerveza, otherwise known as cerveza artesanal, isn't a thing. One of the stand-out operations is Cerveza Insurgente, a brewery making small-batch beers in Tijuana near the California border. The operation has gained notice for its IPA, brown, and pilsner made with orange and coriander. La Lupulosa – whose name is taken from "lupulos," the Spanish word for hops, per Men's Journal — features intense fruit and citrus flavors. According to Men's Journal, the IPA was designed with extra hops thanks to influence from nearby San Diego, where the super hoppy West Coast-style IPAs have long been popular. Of course, the brewers are making cervezas artesanals their way, adding in a healthy dose of malt to cut the beer's bitterness. All of Insurgente's beers can be found at their taproom, and the brand is also sold across Southern California.

Estrella Jalisco

This 100-year-old pale beer is one of the original Mexican lagers that helped define the style. Estrella Jalisco is a flavorful pilsner with a pale, golden color — a close relative to other beers in its class such as a Corona, Tecate, or Budweiser. Sure, you could assume this is another bottom-shelf corn-fed beer, but Men's Journal cautions anyone from passing on this crisp lager. 

Estrella Jalisco is named after its state of origin. First made in 1910 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, the light beer is one of the newer Mexican lagers to enter the market in the United States. This pilsner only adds to the already impressive line-up of light beers from our neighbor.

Fortune explains that in 2016 Estrella Jalisco started selling in 10 states, including California, New Mexico, New York, and Texas. The site says the import is indicative of the popularity of simple, clean, and refreshing Mexican-style lagers abroad. Now Estrella also offers premixed Micheladas for grab-and-go drinks whenever, and these fruit or spice-forward drinks are ideal for taking the guesswork out of making the beer cocktail. The original Estrella Jalisco would also make a great DIY Michelada, if one so chooses.

Dos Equis Lager Especial

Corona might have given us limes with lager, but Dos Equis gave us one impossibly interesting man. Even if you haven't tried this beer, chances are if you've seen the campaigns for Dos Equis in its distinct green bottle, thanks to almost a decade of commercials featuring "The Most Interesting Man in the World," in which a charming man was shown in a series of semi-heroic and over-the-top scenarios. The tongue-in-cheek ads featured this man with a drink and a bit of wisdom: "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis." The internet embraced the character — who would deliver a sultry "Stay thirsty, my friends" to conclude each commercial — until the ad campaign ended in 2018 after a short and unsuccessful stint with a new, younger actor (via Esquire).

Dos Equis is a crisp, golden pilsner that is made with malted barley, corn, and hops. It's also quite drinkable. Originally founded in 1897, Dos Equis is now owned by Heinekin (along with Tecate and Sol) and brewed in locations across Mexico, says VinePair. The brand also released a Dos Equis Mexican Pale Ale to include a beer with a little more flavor to the family. Let's hope this addition sticks around longer than the new "Most Interesting Man."


Golden beers are the bread and butter of Mexico's international offerings. Montejo is one beer with a long history but limited reach here in the United States. The Mexican lager originated in Merida, Yucatan, 100 years ago and is currently brewed in Oaxaca, according to BrewBound. Anheuser-Busch started bringing the beer to the U.S. in 2014, says the beer site. Montejo also became the first Mexican import by the massive producer, reaching southwestern cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, and San Antonio in the early stages of its release. The low-alcohol beverage offers another easy drinking beer ideal for outdoor gathering and warm summer days. BeerAdvocate describes the pilsner as being in the Czech style, a departure from Mexico's German and Austrian beer roots. Montejo is also distinctive for its blue label and brown bottle, at least when it comes to many of its pilsner counterparts from the region. If you can find one in your area, Montejo is another Mexican pilsner to compete in an already crowded category.

Noche Buena

Not all of the beers on this list are lagers. Noche Buena stands out for its dark Bock-style, and its release for the holiday season. Renegade Brewing explains a dark bock is higher in alcohol than a lager, and has a richer malt flavor. Bocks also tend to be less bitter and add some sweetness. Noche Buena literally translates to "good night," but here the term refers to  a Christmas Eve celebration (via Oprah Daily). Sabores de Mexico y el Mundo reports that Heineken releases the dark beer from October to December, a tradition that began in 1924 with the original German brewers in Orizaba, Veracruz. The small batches of beer given away as a gift for friends and employees became such a popular item, the site says the traditional Mexican beer continued to release each season to the public. The bottle also features a poinsettia, which Mexico News Daily explains first became associated with the Christmas holiday in Mexico. 

Finding the Noche Buena beer in the United States is somewhat of a problem. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Heineken stopped importing the seasonal beer due to lack of demand. Based on the newspaper's vocal response, the demand is still there from a small minority. For anyone lucky enough to live next to the border, a stop in Tijuana might be in order when stocking up for winter festivities.

Ska Mexican Logger

Mexican lagers are the most popular imported beer in the United States, so it makes sense that brewers in the States would soon seek to harness some of that business by copying the style. Craft brewing offers plenty of producers large and small who might want to offer their own take on a refreshing Mexican lager. Ska Brewing Company is one such company, and their Mexican-style beer is a standout from the award-winning craft brewery in Durango, Colorado. The beer is included on this list for a couple reasons. First, Brewbound wrote for Ska's 20th year making the seasonal beer that it's made "with a lager yeast strain from Mexico City." Also, the light and refreshing Mexican Logger has won a handful of awards in the pilsner category. The name of the lager-style beer is a riff on the mountainside community where the brewery is located. Points for not taking itself too seriously.